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What To Know When Buying A Diamond
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Diamond Buying Guide: The 4 C’s
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. User consent must be obtained before running these cookies on your website. There’s more to picking out a beautiful diamond than meets the eye (literally). In addition to finding unique styles of jewelry, it’s best to understand a diamond’s rarity through its science.
Picking a beautiful diamond is more than meets the eye (literally). In addition to finding unique styles of jewelry, it’s best to understand a diamond’s rarity through its science. Below, we’ll explain the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity and carat weight), which are the most important characteristics to know when buying a diamond, whether for an engagement ring or just because.
The cut of a diamond is the most important of the 4Cs as it determines how dazzling it will appear to the naked eye. But the cut is different from the shape (such as round or heart). A shape consists of its cuts, that is, its individual geometric parts. The cut affects every part of the diamond and must be perfectly symmetrical to give it a polished appearance.
According to Lumera, 75% of diamond jewelry sold is round. We all know that round diamonds sparkle the most, but there are other popular shapes available. Princess rings are a popular choice for engagement rings. Others choose the oval shape because its elongated appearance gives the illusion that the stone is larger. But the cutting must be done well. Even if a diamond is flawless, a poor cut can turn it into an inferior diamond.
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You may be wondering why someone would cut a diamond so poorly. The answer lies in carat, the weight of the gemstone. Sometimes a diamond becomes completely transparent only by cutting it into very small, concentrated parts of the original piece. However, the jeweler may want to keep it above 1 or 2 carats in order to sell it at a higher price. Therefore, a diamond cutter may refuse to fine-tune it in order to maintain its weight.
Another key part of the 4Cs is color. Colorless diamonds sell the most because their clear composition shows the diamond’s chemical purity. Many diamonds have a yellow or light brown tint. While these colors can be beautified into honey or earth-themed jewelry, blue, pink, and red diamonds are more popular. These are called fancy color diamonds, and the best diamonds are labeled vivid (meaning they are more than just color).
However, fancy colored diamonds are extremely rare, accounting for less than 0.1% of those mined globally. Even the most expensive diamonds ever produced are actually pink, not colorless. The Pink Star is a large, vivid rose-colored oval gemstone that sold for $71 million in 2017. Thankfully, you don’t need to spend that much to take home a beautiful diamond.
Some websites sell pink diamond rings for around $3,000. Blue diamonds are rarer, so most of your options will increase. Enhanced diamonds are diamonds that have been treated to improve clarity or deepen color. While this can make unique designs more affordable, you should know that treated diamonds are more difficult to resell later because they are less durable.
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The next C is clarity. A diamond’s clarity is determined by its inclusions and imperfections. Inclusions are internal marks, flaws are external. Diamonds without inclusions are extremely rare and therefore more expensive. These marks can exhibit a variety of characteristics, including texture, nicks, black spots, feathers, moire, and scratches.
However, many people buy gemstones with inclusions because they are usually only noticeable under a magnifying glass. Like the first two Cs, there is a scale. It goes from the most defective (marked I1-I3 for imperfect) to the least (marked FL-IL for flawless/internally free). Less than 1% of diamonds are rated flawless (FL), but that doesn’t mean diamonds below that aren’t worthy.
Since flawless diamonds can be much more expensive, it is recommended to buy flawless diamonds anyway if the price is right. For diamonds with barely noticeable markings, choose a grade of VS1 (Very Slightly Included) or better.
Carat is probably the most famous of the 4 Cs. They are determined based on the physical weight of the diamond in metric carats (valued at 200 milligrams). Many jewelers price gemstones based on this standard.
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Even if the diamond looks larger to your eyes, you should weigh it to make sure its shape isn’t deceiving you. As mentioned earlier, the oval is one of those shapes that looks larger than it actually is. Marquise and emerald styles have the same effect. Essentially, a gemstone’s table cut can change our perception of its carat size.
1 carat diamond is a popular standard that many companies try to achieve because they can sell it at a higher price. Some companies will sell a 0.9 carat stone for thousands of dollars less just because it doesn’t meet that standard! This difference is usually not noticeable. A popular rule of thumb is that an adjustment of 0.2 carats is needed to make a real difference.
However, it is important to note that you should not just take what a jeweler says at face value. Check out a third-party diamond appraisal report to determine if your new ring or watch is as perfect as they say it is. There are major bodies that grade diamonds on every continent, such as the High Council of Diamonds (HRD) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI).
If you’re buying jewelry from Sotheby’s or Christie’s, look for historical styles that are no longer common.
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An example of this is Georgian jewelry, which is extremely rare. Jewelry from this era (from 1714 to the 1830s) was tailored to the shape of the stone, not the other way around. This is because they did not have the technology to cut gemstones as precisely as we do today. Their design themes also often feature flowers, bows, and lace.
Another newer jewelry gold mine comes from the Art Deco period of the early 1900s. Auction house Christie’s notes that original Art Deco earrings are difficult to find. If you believe that more is more, look out for the extravagant and creative designs created for Hollywood stars of the 1930s.
Some of the most valuable gems are those associated with a story. The Hope Diamond is one of the most valuable diamonds in existence. Its centerpiece is a 45.52-carat blue diamond worth approximately $350 million. However, there are rumors that it is cursed as it is believed that French businessman Jean-Baptise Tavernier stole it from a Hindu statue. Since then, many owners of this gem have died young, earning it an ominous reputation.
Iconic designs from big brands are also very valuable. Take Wallis Simpson’s Cartier Black Panther bracelet, for example. Wallis Simpson is famous for his affair with King Edward VIII of England. He chose to abdicate in 1936 when the royal family refused to allow him to marry her. The beauty of her bracelet matched the grandeur of the scandal; it was a panther encrusted with diamonds and onyx. About seven years later, it sold at auction for about $7 million.
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However, you don’t have to worry about style as much as you worry about the stones that make it up. Jewelry is more than the sum of its parts, but its individual parts can make or break the durability and brilliance of the whole. However, the next time you find a beautiful gemstone, you might want to ask your jeweler where it ranks on the 4 Cs scale and if it also has a story.
By Jacqueline Martinez BA English Composition Jacqueline Martinez earned her BA in English (Composition and Rhetoric) in 2019. While in college, she worked at an art gallery in Miami. She has participated in major art fairs such as Art Basel and Art Miami, documenting new exhibitions and art
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